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Clarence Brown Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-1023
A 2004 addition to MS.0702, Clarence Brown Papers, this collection is comprised of personal photographs (1913-1973), movie scrapbooks and memorabilia (1920-1950), and correspondence (1918-1950) that further document the life and career of Clarence Brown.

Series I: Film Scrapbooks and Shooting Scripts, 1939-1952 – Series I is made up of eight movie scrapbooks and one shooting script for nine films that Clarence Brown directed between 1939 and 1952. The scrapbooks contain a myriad of materials including photographs, press clippings, correspondence, telegrams, international press, and award ceremony memorabilia.

Series II: Photographs, circa 1895-1973 – This series contains personal photographs of Clarence Brown that document his life from childhood to post-retirement.

Subseries A: Movie Stills and Negatives, 1920-1949 - Subseries A consists of three folders. The first two are movie stills from Flesh and the Devil (1926). The third folder is made up of negatives from Brown’s films between 1920 and 1949. While there are materials from his more well-known movies such as Wife vs. Secretary (1936) and Intruder in the Dust (1949), there are also negatives of his earlier work.

Subseries B: Personal Photographs, circa 1895- 1973 - Subseries B contains photographs that document Brown’s childhood and education, film career, and post-retirement projects and activities. Early photographs include his high school graduation in 1905 and prints from his undergraduate career at the University of Tennessee. There are also a number of family vacation pictures, portraits of Brown’s parents, and photos of his childhood home. Also available are several photographs of Brown’s Beverly Hills home and seaside villa.

Photographs from Brown’s film career are primarily comprised of behind-the-scenes snapshots such as on-set celebrations and cast and crew portraits. Other materials include photographs of his films’ stars, group photos with producers and studio executives, and Brown directing.

Post-retirement photographs include the November 13, 1970, dedication of the Clarence Brown Theatre as well as a flight in a U.S. Air Force jet. A former World War I pilot with a private pilot’s license, Brown was an avid flyer and there are several photographs of him with his plane.

Series III: Correspondence and Personal Papers, 1905 June 6–1950 June 11 - The bulk of this series is made up of Brown’s letters to his parents during the summer and fall of 1918 and several condolences he received after his father’s death in the summer of 1942. Also included is Brown’s 1905 high school commencement program.

Series IV: Removed Materials, circa 1895-1973 - This series is made up of materials removed from Series I-III. These items were removed because of their size and/or format.

Dates

  • circa 1895-1973

General Physical Description note

(16 Boxes)

Conditions Governing Access

Manuscript collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 24 hours is needed to retrieve these items for research use. Readers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

16 Linear Feet ((9) scrapbook clamshells (2) half boxes (5) flat storage boxes)

Abstract

A 2004 addition to MS.0702, Clarence Brown Papers, this collection is comprised of personal photographs (1913-1973), movie scrapbooks and memorabilia (1920-1950), and correspondence (1918-1950) that further document the life and career of Clarence Brown.

Biographical/Historical note

Clarence Leon Brown was born to Larkin Harry and Katherine Ann (Gaw) Brown in Clinton, Massachusetts on May 10, 1890. The family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in 1902, where Larkin Brown worked as a superintendent at Brookside Mills, a textile manufacturing company. Clarence Brown graduated from Knoxville High School in 1905 and went on to earn his B.A. in mechanical and electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1910. For the next five years, he worked for automobile manufacturer Stevens-Duryea and later established his own dealership, the Brown Motor Car Company, in Alabama. He soon grew restless and, fascinated with movies, moved to New Jersey to study under French director Maurice Tourneur at Peerless Studios. Here, the pair directed such films as Deep Waters (1919) and The Last of the Mohicans (1920).

Though Brown directed several pictures for Universal Studios, his longest association was with MGM beginning with Flesh and the Devil (1926), his first collaboration with Greta Garbo. Garbo later named Clarence Brown as one of her favorite directors.

During the course of his career, Brown directed or produced more than fifty full-length motion pictures and worked with many of the film industry's most illustrious stars including Joan Crawford and Clark Gable in Chained (1934), Spencer Tracy in Edison the Man (1940), Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet (1945), and Gregory Peck in The Yearling (1947). Brown received a total of six Academy Award nominations for Best Director and eight of his films won Oscars in various categories. Brown retired from film in 1952.

He remained involved with the University of Tennessee, contributing development funds towards the construction of the Clarence Brown Theater and leaving the University an additional $12 million after his death on August 17, 1987. When combined, these sums made him the largest donor in the University's history.

Arrangement note

This collection is comprised of 16 boxes and is broken up into the following three series:
  1. Series I: Film Scrapbooks and Shooting Scripts, 1939-1952
  2. Series II: Photographs, circa 1895-1973
    • Subseries A: Movie Stills and Negatives, 1920-1949
    • Subseries B: Personal Photographs, circa 1895-1973
  3. Series III: Correspondence and Personal Papers, 1905 June 6–1950 June 11
  4. Series IV: Removed Materials, circa 1895-1973

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

This is the 2004 addition to Clarence Brown's original donation in 1973 (MS.0702)

General Physical Description note

(16 Boxes)

Processing Information

This collection is an addition to MS.0702, Clarence Brown Papers.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480